New programme paves the way for innovative thinking

The European Commission has put forward a proposal to develop a new instrument – the Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI) – which will support employment and social policies throughout the EU.

The new programme will be used to help tackle some of the EU’s most pressing issues, such as high unemployment rates, poverty and social exclusion, and the ageing population.

The PSCI will integrate three existing Commission-managed programmes: PROGRESS, the programme for employment and social solidarity; EURES, which delivers European employment services; and the European Progress Micro-finance Facility.

Bringing these three instruments together under one umbrella will increase their effectiveness and allow the Commission to improve policy coherence across the board. The new-set up will also ensure that employment and social policies make an even greater contribution to Europe 2020, the EU’s overarching strategy for economic growth.

In addition to strengthening policy coordination, capacity building and the sharing of best practice, the PSCI will make it possible to test innovative actions. The ultimate aim is for the most successful of these pilots to be “up-scaled” and receive financial backing from the European Social Fund (ESF), which provides finance to projects that support employment and social integration in the regions.

Commission Communication on a New Impetus for Vocational Education and Training

On 9 June 2010, the European Commission released a Communication on a New Impetus for Vocational Education and Training.

The Communication provides a full review of how VET should support the Europe 2020 strategy, the Commission’s new economic strategy for the decade ahead.

Although the Communication does not address in detail the opportunities of a greater use of ICT in Vocational Education and Training, it identifies the need for « initial vocational education and training (IVET) (to) equip young learners with skills directly relevant to evolving labour markets, such as e-skills, and highly developed key competences; such as digital and media literacy to achieve digital competence ». It furthermore emphasises that « Virtual mobility » through the use of ICT (e-learning) should be promoted to complement physical mobility ». It also underlines the « need to promote active learning in both work and school-based VET and give individuals the opportunity to control and develop their own learning, also through the use of innovative, creative and tailored made ICT tools, including e-learning, to improve the access to and flexibility of training ».

A full copy of the Communication can be downloaded here.